354 DELIVERIES, 23 FOURS, 2 SIXES
SRI LANKA V WEST INDIES, 3RD TEST, COLOMBO, 2001
West Indies 390 (Lara 221; Vaas 7-120) & 262 (Lara 130; Vaas 7-71) lost to Sri Lanka 627-9dec (Tillakaratne 204, Samaraweera 87, Jayasuriya 85) & 27-0 by 10 wickets
OPPOSITION ATTACK: Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Zoysa, Muttiah Muralitharan, Niroshan Bandaratilleke, Thilan Samaraweera, Sanath Jayasuriya
West Indies’ 2001 tour of Sri Lanka was a miserable one for Carl Hooper’s side, as Vaas and Murali combined to lethal effect, taking 50 wickets between them across the three-match series. The tourists lost by 10 wickets at Galle, 131 runs at Kandy and 10 wickets at Colombo, and the incompetence of their batsmen was only highlighted by the sheer brilliance of Brian Lara.
West Indies managed three centuries in the series, all of which belonged to Lara, including scores of 221 and 130 in a tour de force at Colombo. In the process he became the first player to score a double and a single hundred in the same Test and still finish on the losing side, with his innings accounting for more than half the runs off the bat in both innings.
What made Lara’s performance all the more impressive was the quality of the attack he was facing. Vaas had never bowled better, while Murali repeatedly made mugs of the Windies. Not Lara, though. The Sri Lankan spinner would later declare Lara to be the best batsman he ever bowled against.
“At that time to left-handers Murali would sometimes bowl without a mid-on because they couldn’t hit him through there,” Kumar Sangakkara, who was keeping wicket at Colombo, recently told AOC. “But here you had Brian Lara hitting him to mid-wicket against the turn, and that really demoralised him. Very few players can do that.”
The best Murali ever bowled to
‘A HUGE MOMENT IN MY CAREER’
My performances in Sri Lanka in 2001 were some of my most impressive. That series was a huge moment in my career. We lost all three Test matches but I was named Player of the Series after scoring three centuries, including a double. How can someone be named Player of the Series if they lost all three Test matches? At Colombo I remember scoring a century and a double in the same match and still losing with two sessions to go!
Brian Lara, ‘The Definitive’, AOC 134